At least 800 garment factories have reopened today in an epic act of gambling.
Bangladesh Garment Manufactures and Exporters Associations (BGMEA) plan to gradually reopen the factories after ‘adopting adequate safety measures’ will be suicidal and could drive away top retailers, experts feared.
“The coming days will decide whether it was a terrible mistake, which could trigger a tragedy hundred times bigger than the 2013 Rana Plaza factory disaster, or a well calculated and thought-out gambit to save a tottering economy from utter ruins,” a senior business journalist explained Business Mirror.
The BGMEA President Rubana Huq told Business Mirror that they had little control as most of the factory owners have pressure to complete their incomplete shipments.
“It is business and we have to conduct it with due diligence,” the BGMEA president said.
Brands won’t want to associate with a factory where Covid-19 infected workers have been found. Imagine a headline: ‘200 workers in H&M factory in Bangladesh confirned Covid 19 positive, 10 dead, he further added.
It will be a perfect PR disaster for a top Western brand and revive memories of the Rana Plaza disaster when the death of 1, 134 workers triggered backlash by consumers and rights groups in the rich countries.
Global unions will highlight how BGMEA’ s greed and desperation to keep export orders are endangering lives of tens of thousands of workers.
Any attempt, therefore, to open up the factories without stemming the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh will be a sheer stupidity. Instead of ensuring international competitiveness of our manufacturers, as CPD has suggested, it will create a ground for a massive disaster.
Zia Chowdhury, an business specialist said it’s not necessarily a correct assumption. Everyone knows that LDCs or developing countries do not have social safety net for the people like the same is available in developed countries.
“Some brands are requesting for pending shipment. Most importantly, the goods in transit will be inside the container for about 30 days, no worry of affecting others with COVID19 when the goods are handled in Europe, America” he further added.
Himel Shamsul, a senior business journalist of The Daily Observer said as every country in the world is facing the coronavirus pandemic situation, they will understand the reality and true buyers will not make the situation as an excuse or fault.